The last week of February saw the largest content drop on Disney+ since the streaming service first launched, with a plethora of general content being made available. The content includes titles from nearly all of Disney’s media subsidiries including Touchstone, Marvel, ABC Studios, and Twentieth Century Studios.
Black-ish is one of the many shows included in the new international line-up, and while the amount of episodes varies depending on the territory, due to previous licencing agreements, all regions where the 4th season is available have something in common – the episode, “Please, Baby, Please” is noticably missing.
Originally filmed in November 2017 and set to air on February 22nd 2018, “Please, Baby, Please” (nicknamed by some as the “Colin Kaepernick” episode due to the episode’s subject matter) was to be the 14th episode of season 4 before ABC pulled it from the schedule and replaced it with a rerun of a previous episode instead due to it’s topic.
Black-ish is no stranger to discussing racism and police brutality as it regularly features a commentary on the racism African Americans face in the US. The season 2 episode, “Hope” is a notable example as it follows the Johnson family as they await the verdict of a white police officer accused of killing a Black teen.
However, the reason why “Please, Baby, Please” was pulled is because it features a discussion on the free-speech rights of NFL players such as Colin Kaepernick, who famously knelt during the national anthem as a way to peacefully protest and bring attention to police brutality and systemic racism in the USA.
The official reason why the episode was pulled was that Black-ish creator, Kenya Barris, and ABC struggled to come to a creative agreement on how to approach the subject and thus came to a mutual decision to pull the episode completly.
While we can’t say for sure, there have been several assumptions made that point to other reasons factoring into the decision. Many have noted that ESPN, a Disney subsidiary, is partnered with the NFL, who in 2018 were not too keen on their players kneeling during the national anthem. The argument here is that Disney didn’t want to risk their partnership with the NFL since it’s a deal that costs them an eye-watering $1.9 billion per season. The kneeling was also a regularly spun by the likes of Donald Trump and Fox News who claimed that it was a disgrace to America’s war veterans and the US flag. Many players also knelt in protest of Trump’s policies.
The episode remained unaired and unavailable to the public for two years until August 10th 2020, shortly after the world was rocked by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, whose deaths sparked a new wave of Black Lives Matter protests across the globe.
As of yet, the episode is somewhat of an unofficial Hulu Original as it has never aired on US television and is unavailable internationally.
Disney+ is no stranger to censoring or completly removing episodes of shows, no matter how popular. Andi Mack, The Muppet Show, and The Simpsons all feature one or more episodes missing from the service for reasons that vary from show-to-show.
However, Black-ish stands-out different from the rest because the “lost” episode is unavailable for all the wrong reasons. It highlights a very real problem that is endemic in many countries, especially the US, so it’s truely perplexing to see that it’s still missing from the season 4 line-up on Disney+.
This article will be updated if and when the episode is made available on Disney+. Meanwhile, if you live in the USA, you can watch “Please, Baby, Please” on Hulu, where it can be found at the tail-end of the shows 4th season.